NTSB Identification: FTW99LA131.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Friday, April 30, 1999 in BRAZORIA 440L
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2000
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N35WH
Injuries: 1 Serious,3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

An offshore oil platform worker was seriously injured when he walked into a helicopter's turning tail rotor blades. According to the pilot, he landed the helicopter on the platform with the tail rotor over a stairwell in order to land into the wind and avoid a crane operating on the platform. The helicopter was still 'light on the skids,' and he began to reposition the helicopter so the tail rotor would not be over the stairwell. Simultaneously, the rear passenger began to exit the helicopter without receiving authorization. The pilot terminated the repositioning by lowering the collective and rolling the throttle to the idle position. A few seconds had elapsed when the pilot felt a 'nick in the pedals.' Subsequently, one of the passengers notified the pilot that someone had walked into the tail rotor blades. The helicopter was not damaged. According to the passengers, the pilot never indicated to them that he intended to reposition the helicopter. Both passengers exited the helicopter upon hearing the engine power 'spool down.' The front seat passenger was helping the other passenger unload cargo from the helicopter and observed the worker come up the steps into the turning blades.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The failure of the platform worker to maintain clearance with the turning tail rotor blades. A factor was the inadequate coordination between the pilot and the passengers pertaining to procedures for disembarking from the helicopter.

Full narrative available

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